Hindus praise significant rise in marriages

From Zeeshan Mirza

KARACHI: Under the chairmanship of Patron-in-chief Pakistan Hindu Council Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, the first official meeting of the PHC Managing Committee of the current year was held at PHC House Karachi, in which various issues were discussed.
While expressing satisfaction over the recently-held successful annual mass marriages for the 16 consecutive years, the members also reviewed the progress of the ongoing ‘All Pakistan Minorities Heritage Photo Contest’. On the occasion, Secretary General Prashotam Ramani, Advisor Raja Asarmal Mangalani, Joint Secretary Paman Lal, Roop Mala, MPA Mangala Sharma, Bharat Kumar Mangalani, Vikram Rathi, Roshan Lal and other members were also present.
Dr. Ramesh Kumar in his opening remarks stated that the nationwide photo contest with the collaboration of the Press Network of Pakistan aims to explore, honor and highlight various sacred ancient religious sites across the country. “The message of inter-faith harmony and peaceful co-existence is being delivered through the active participation of Pakistani citizens, especially university students and people of various faiths,” he expressed.
Chief Coordinator Kirshan Sagar, in his comprehensive briefing under the agenda item number one related to the All Pakistan Minorities Heritage Photo Competition, said that a nationwide photo competition was announced last month in December to identify non-Muslim holy places across the country.
“In a short period of one month, an amazing positive response has been given by the citizens of Pakistan,” he said, emphasizing that more than five hundred photos of Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Jain, Parsi and other non-Muslim religious places have been submitted in the photo competition so far.
He further informed that 167 photos have been shortlisted, according to which, 43% of the photos received are of Hindu heritage places of worship, 10% of Christian heritage, 5% of Buddhist heritage, 28% of Sikh heritage, 10% of Jainism and other religions respectively. The statistics reveal that about 24% of the contestants are females.
On the basis of submissions for the photo contest, 60% of the holy places of the non-Muslim minority community are in their original condition, 13% are not in use, 7% of the sites have been converted into educational institutions, 10% of the sites are being used for residential and commercial purposes, and 1.2% of the sites have been transformed into government offices.
Dr. Ramesh Vankwani, while lauding the efforts to manage the photo contest smoothly, said that the land of present-day Pakistan is having thousands of years of ancient history. Our beautiful country is full of hidden architectural wonders and unique sites that make up part of our rich heritage.
According to him, the promotion of religious tourism has huge potential not only frees Pakistan from external debt but also strengthens our national economy. “The first step to protect the sacred sites across the country was about awareness,” he stated, adding that “I am glad that the Pakistan Hindu Council has taken the first step in the right direction.”
The managing committee members also appreciated the efforts of the participants who provided the best photos in the photo competition. According to them, more steps will be taken in future including online Dharmik quizzes, which will give a positive image of the country to the international community.
The last date for participation in the photo competition being held with the technical support by the Press Network of Pakistan is 31st January 2023. The contestants submitting outstanding photos will be awarded with winning prizes worth of Rs. 50K, 30K and 20K respectively in addition to special prizes and certificates of appreciation. Pakistan Hindu Council has asked every citizen of Pakistan, especially journalists and students studying in educational institutions to actively participate in this photo competition.